Later he met Sethra Lavode, famous for killing wandering Dzur heroes, Aliera e'Kieron, the arrogant daughter of the sorcerer who destroyed Dragaera City, and Lord Morrolan e'Drien, a Dragonlord who likes to sacrifice entire villages to please his patron diety. Throughout his long acquaintanceship with them they have continually reminded Vlad that the Jhereg isn't the only reason he can get killed.
He is an expert fighter in the Eastern style of swordsmanship, which presents only the side. It is quicker and more effective than the Dragaeran technique he faces in his environment. He uses different throwing weapons, usually daggers.
- See also Meta:Vlad Taltos.
Raised alone by his father, Pishta (Vlad's mother, Marishka having apparently died when he was very young), Vlad grew up working in a restaurant somewhere outside of the Easterner's Ghetto in Adrilankha.
After many years, his father spent their entire life savings to purchase a baronetcy in the Jhereg (see Joining Houses), in order to provide what he perceived as a "better life" for his son. It should be said that Vlad's father hated all things "Eastern" and endeavored to raise his son with the belief that Dragaerans were superior. In this he was not especially successful. (In fact, Vlad developed a deep hatred of Dragaerans which was aided by the fact that Orca bullies would beat him up on a regular basis.)
Vlad was fourteen when his father died of one of the many plagues that were common in Draegara during the Interregnum. Vlad's father refused to allow his disease to be healed by witchcraft, due to his disdain for all things Eastern. The family could not afford the services of a sorcerer, having spent so much money purchasing a title in the Jhereg. Vlad himself would have probably died of the same disease, but he was healed by his grandfather using witchcraft.
After his father's death, Vlad continued to run the family restaurant for about two years. He then sold it and (with the aid of Kiera the thief) joined the criminal Right Hand of the Jhereg as a low-level enforcer, working for Nielar.
Eventually, Vlad started accepting "work" (i.e. performing assassinations for other members of the Jhereg). This was Vlad's idea of a perfect job at the time, owing to his hatred of Dragaerans.
After working in this business for a time, Vlad took the opportunity to replace his former boss, Tagichatn, and run the criminal side of a section of Adrilankha for himself. (Details on Vlad's rise within the Jhereg can be found in Taltos, and Yendi.)
Shortly after this, Vlad was approached by Morrolan e'Drien and Sethra Lavode for his help in retrieving the staff containing the soul of Aliera e'Kieron. (And further, his help in venturing to the Paths of the Dead with Morrolan to restore Aliera's soul to her body.) It was at this time that Vlad "acquired" Spellbreaker, a magical chain that protected him against sorcery.
During one especially difficult period during his rise within the Jhereg (a war with another Jhereg boss named Laris), Vlad met an Eastern woman named Cawti—when she successfully assassinated him! Fortunately, Vlad was revivified by Aliera, and Vlad soon found he had more in common with Cawti (noticeably her hatred of Dragaerans) than differences, and the two quickly fell in love, and were soon married. (Yendi)
It was shortly after this that Vlad was contacted by The Demon to perform some very special "work"—taking out Mellar, a former Jhereg Council member who had absconded with nine million Imperials. It was during this job that Vlad met Rocza, a female jhereg who agreed to help him complete his job. Shortly thereafter, Rocza became Loiosh's mate. (Jhereg)
A few months after this, Vlad discovered, much to his chagrin, that Cawti had joined a group of Easterners in South Adrilankha who were working to overthrow The Empire. As a result of this, he found himself at odds with another Jhereg named Herth. After numerous foiled assassination attempts on both sides, Vlad eventually "negotiated" a peace with Herth, and then bought him out, taking over the Organization interests in South Adrilankha. (Teckla)
The peace did not last long, however, as Vlad quickly found himself at odds with the rest of the Jhereg Organization over the events occurring in South Adrilankha.
It was shortly after Vlad had murdered the King of Greenaere for Verra that the unrest in the Easterners' Ghetto came to a head (See Revolt of 244). As a result Boralinoi, a Jhereg Council member, framed the Easterners for a violent crime and arranged for Cawti's arrest by The Empire. This proved to be the final straw for Vlad, who went to the Empress with information implicating Boralinoi in the crime. This had major consequences for Vlad, since even though Boralinoi was killed shortly thereafter, the rest of the Jhereg Council dedicated all of their resources to finding and ending Vlad's career permanently. For his aid ending the Greenaere war, Vlad was made Count of Szurke (he may be the first Jhereg ever to receive an Imperial title). (Phoenix)
Having no choice but to try to elude the assassins of the Jhereg, Vlad left his life in Adrilankha behind, and began wandering the countryside, searching for a new life. He has survived thus far with the help of two jhereg, a gold Phoenix Stone and a black one set together into an amulet, to mask him to sorcery and witchcraft, and a witch's amulet supplied by his Noish-pa to make teleportation less unsettling.
At this time, he visited briefly with Noish-pa before making his way to his ancestral homeland of Fenario in search of his mothers' relatives. He was embroiled in a web of paranoia in the village of Burz, and was badly injured, only barely escaping and hiding out in the city of Fenario afterwards. His experiences in Burz teach him a harsh lesson in the relationships between nobility, industry, witchcraft, superstitious peasantry, and a Merchants' Guild.(Jhegaala). The lesson appears to have cost him several months' recovery time and the pinky on his left hand.
Later, during a visit to Smallcliff, Vlad discovered the murder of Reins, the cart driver who had helped him infiltrate the keep of Loraan years earlier. Loraan, assumed dead, turned out to be, well, undead. Vlad then recruited the help of a young Teckla named Savn in killing the undead Athyra wizard. During this encounter, Savn was traumatized to the point of catatonia. (Athyra)
Searching for a cure for Savn, Vlad later investigated the murder of a powerful Orca. He learned that the Empire's finances are not as stable as they seem, that he can be traced psychically through Loiosh, and that Kiera the Thief was actually Sethra Lavode. (Vlad is the only other person to know this last fact). (Orca)
In Issola, Vlad was called upon to help rescue Morrolan and Aliera, who had been abducted by the Jenoine. Using Spellbreaker to locate the pair, Vlad and Teldra used Morrolan's Window to travel to the place where the pair were being held. During the escape from the Jenoine, which came with the aid of Verra, Vlad's arm was injured by a Jenoine weapon.
Back on Dragaera, Vlad, along with Morrolan, Aliera, Verra, and Sethra Lavode, made plans to stop the Jenoine's plan to invade Dragaera using hijacked amorphia from the Lesser Sea of Chaos. During the battle, Lady Teldra was struck down by a morganti weapon. Using Spellbreaker, however, Vlad was able to re-constitute portions of Teldra's soul into the morganti weapon, fusing Spellbreaker into the weapon's hilt during the process.
Using this new weapon, Vlad was able to destroy one of the Jenoine, and drive the others off, foiling their invasion plans, for the present.
That same day, in Dzur, Vlad decided to head into Adrilankha for a meal at Valabar's, despite the danger this might place him in at the hands of the Jhereg. While dining, Vlad encountered a young Dzurlord named Telnan, who shared his meal. Another unexpected visitor to the table, the notorious Mario Greymist, let Vlad know that his estranged wife Cawti was in trouble with the Left Hand of the Jhereg.
After visiting with Cawti, Vlad agreed to help her with the situation. This involved unraveling a power play by the Left Hand, in conjunction with a struggle for control of the Jhereg Council; leaderless after the recent death of Curithne. With the help of Telnan and "Lady Teldra", Vlad managed to broker a deal with the Left Hand (as well as with The Demon) to keep the Jhereg (both sides) from interfering with South Adrilankha until after the next Dragon Reign. Vlad then learned of the existence of his son .
In Tiassa Vlad was the subject of a Jhereg plot to simulate a False Jenoine Invasion, aimed simply at finding and killing him. The plot was discovered and foiled, unbeknownst to Vlad, by Daro, Norathar, and Cawti. The only effect on Vlad was the retrieval of the Silver Tiassa, which Vlad passed immediately on to Savn. It seems to be helping to cure him.
After meeting with his son for the first time, and having one final meal at Valabar's, Vlad returned to his vagabond life on the run from the Jhereg. He spent the next four years living off the proceeds of his previously amassed fortune, as well as by relieving would-be highwaymen of their purses whenever they attempted to rob him.
It was after one such escapade, about four years later, that Vlad learned (in Iorich) of the arrest of Aliera e'Kieron, on the charge of using Elder Sorcery, in an apparently politically motivated move by the Empress, who has shadowy pressures to satisfy. Vlad returned once more to Adrilankha to render assistance to his friend. By clarifying which houses and organizations are actually putting pressure on the Empress, and defeating their plan, Vlad, assisted by Norathar and Aliera, his friend Kragar and the advocate Perisil, made it politically possible to free Aliera. The Empress, unable to offer Vlad any assistance or even any further Imperial honors, offered him her personal friendship instead, and he accepted.
Vlad has also, since Athyra, developed a close relationship with the Issola minstrel Sara, and the relationship has caused significant friction with her family, and brought Vlad to the attention of The Empress's Captain Khaavren and Prime Minister Pel (Tiassa). Pel is also extremely intrigued with the number of times Vlad seems to appear in conjunction with Jenoine invasions.
Vlad, unwilling to leave Adrilankha despite his imminent assassination, has executed a plan to force the Jhereg Council to protect his life and health. It involved inventing a new criminal sorcerous technique that the Jhereg could sell, and also sell services to block it. The Jhereg Council had Vlad teach them his new techniques, then attempted to kill him regardless. Vlad, anticipating their betrayal, had them all arrested (and their money confiscated) by Khaavren, then had their arrests and forfeitures suspended until Vlad's death or extended disappearance.
But Vlad neglected to keep the Left Hand of the Jhereg out of the meeting. They now know the technique as well, and are as angry at Vlad as they ever were. Vlad is no longer running in fear from the Jhereg, but he is now once again hunted by the even more formidable Left Hand.
According to Aliera, Vlad is the reincarnation of Dolivar, the founder of the house of Jhereg, and brother of Kieron and Aliera herself, from a former life. Needless to say, this information has had an effect on the hatred of Dragaerans Vlad has carried throughout his life. (This is also how Vlad is capable of using Elder Sorcery, which he has done only twice, nearly killing himself (and a number of others) on each occasion.)
Vlad gets by very well on his personality -- he's tough, full of wisdom and wiseassery. But among his weaknesses, he is very squeamish about anything to do with investigating his own mind and soul, even to his own detriment.
- He'd rather threaten Verra (futile and dangerous) than investigate for himself what parts of his memory she has tampered with.
- He'd rather go unhealed (and leave Lady Teldra unawakened) than investigate the psychic link (through Spellbreaker) he originally created while forming Godslayer.
- He has plenty of opportunities to ask Sethra or Aliera about his past life as Dolivar, and decides not to.
Vlad begins in obscurity but he becomes more historically significant over the course of the stories.
- In Phoenix, Vlad is well-known within the Jhereg, though perhaps not in a way he'd like. He also becomes a friend of the Empress, she grants him an almost-unprecedented (for an Easterner) Imperial Title and she probably still owes him a favour.
- In Issola, Vlad is instrumental in repelling an attack by the Jenoine, a fact not yet known to the public but later discovered by Pel, Khaavren, and eventually Paarfi of Roundwood and therefore likely a part of history.
- In Orca, Vlad is "deeply involved" in the Fyres affair, and helps resolve it, which also eventually comes to the attention of Khaavren and Pel.
- In Jhegaala, Vlad makes an anonymous gift to the Empress which she has no trouble guessing is from him.
- In Iorich, Vlad and the Empress converse nearly as equals.
- In the case of the False Jenoine Invasion, early on, Vlad becomes the subject of an Empire-wide manhunt. Later, details of Vlad's association with Empire notables such as Morrolan, Aliera, Sethra and the Empress, as well as his defense of the Empire from the Jenoine, and his holding of a Great Weapon, come to the attention of Khaavren and Pel. Pel , for one, is determined to know more about him. Khaavren accords Vlad grudging respect, in marked contrast to their first meeting in Teckla.
- Details like how he came by his Great Weapon, his friendship with Sethra Lavode, his discreet dealings with the Empress, Khaavren, Piro, Mario, Aliera, etc. would normally be enough on their own to bring him to the public eye. He has avoided fame so far by simply not advertising any of them. But with Pel and Khaavren now interested in him, this obscurity may change.
- By some later date, he is considered important enough to become the subject of a history by Paarfi. (Tiassa)
- By the time of Tiassa, Vlad appears to be well on his way to becoming a publicly-known figure in the Empire, for better or for worse.
- See also Speculation:Vlad Taltos.
- Noish-pa (his Grandfather)
- Baronet Pishta Taltos (his father (deceased))
- Marishka Merss Taltos (his mother (deceased))
- Ibronka Taltos (his paternal grandmother (deceased))
- Jani Taltos (his great uncle (deceased))
- Merss family in Burz, (deceased)
- Cawti (his estranged wife)
- Vlad Norathar (their son)
- Loiosh (his familiar) and Rocza, Loiosh's mate
- Kieron (his brother in a former life)
- Aliera (his sibling in a former life)
- Sethra Lavode (his sister in a former life)
- Devera (who will be his niece (sort of, see above) when she is born)
Vlad has a LOT of enemies. Here are the ones we know about so far, with a brief rundown of why they don't like him very much.
- Count Soffta: For threatening his life, and for betraying Boralinoi to the Empire.
- Sethra the Younger: For breaking down the Yendi Conspiracy, discrediting and humiliating her in the process.
- The Sorceress in Green: For breaking down the Yendi Conspiracy, discrediting and humiliating her in the process.
- Toronnan: For threatening the Jhereg Imperial Representative and betraying Boralinoi to the Empire.
- Herth: For uncovering the person who ordered Franz's death.
- Bajinok: For uncovering the person who ordered Franz's death, and for killing him.
- Vonnith: For uncovering the Orca conspiracy.
- Reega: For uncovering the Orca conspiracy.
- Nylanth: For disrupting his move into South Adrilankha.
- Caola: For foiling her designs in South Adrilankha and killing two of her people.
- Triesco: For foiling her group's designs in South Adrilankha and killing some of them.
- Loraan: For relieving him of Aliera's soul, as well as Spellbreaker. And helping kill him. Twice.
- Tagichatn: For being an Easterner and for killing him.
- Mellar: For destroying his soul while ruining his plans.
- Laris: For interfering with and disrupting the Yendi Conspiracy, and killing him.
- Boralinoi: For betraying him to the Empire and killing him.
- Ishtvan: For being his target, and for killing him.
- Stony: For uncovering the Orca conspiracy.
- Domm: For uncovering the Orca conspiracy and assassinating him.
- Crithnak: For destroying her sister's soul, and having her killed.
- Crithnak's sister: For destroying her soul.
- Fornia: For foiling his plans to obtain the Great Weapon within the sword he stole after Baritt's death.
- Ori: For killing him.
- Terion: For disrupting his bid for leadership of the Jhereg Council, and killing him to disrupt the Organization during the events of Hawk.
- The Jhereg Council: For his betrayal of Boralinoi to the Empire, and for threatening Count Soffta.
- The government of Greenaere: For his assassination of Haro Olithorvold.
- The Jenoine: For foiling their invasion and killing one of their number.
- The Left Hand of the Jhereg: For foiling their designs on South Adrilankha , killing Crithnak's sister and destroying her soul, and threatening one of their cells.
The following individuals worked for Vlad at various times during the period where he ran a section of Adrilankha.
- Kragar (running the area that Vlad formerly ran)
- "Shut up, Loiosh."
- "Shut your face or I'll tear out your windpipe and make you eat it"
Addressing Lord Morrolan:
- "Let me put it this way: If you mess with one of my people again, I'm going to cut your heart out."